Sunday, July 23, 2017

NJPW G1 Climax 27 Night Five Review

G1 Climax 27 Night Five
July 23rd, 2017 | Machida Municipal Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan | Attendance: 4,598

We return to the A Block and leave Korakuen Hall as the G1 Climax hits the road. Tetsuya Naito and Hirooki Goto sit atop the standings, while Yuji Nagata and Togi Makabe remain without points. This show happens to feature my second most anticipated match of the entire tournament.

TenKoji def. Katsuya Kitamura and Michael Elgin in 4:41
El Desperado, Minoru Suzuki and Taichi def. David Finlay, Hirai Kawato and Juice Robinson in 8:31
EVIL and Hiromu Takahashi def. Chase Owens and Tama Tonga in 5:10
Kenny Omega and Yujiro Takahashi def. Jado and Toru Yano in 6:29
BUSHI and SANADA def. Gedo and Kazuchika Okada in 5:43

A Block: YOSHI-HASHI [2] vs. Zack Sabre Jr. [2]
They both won on night one and lost on night three. Sabre was with his buddy El Desperado again. We got his usual brilliance here, picking apart YOSHI’s arm in brutal ways. It was as if YOSHI found himself in a heap of trouble almost immediately. After reaching the ropes on a painful looking submission, YOSHI started the comeback, which the crowd was into. It’s great how far he’s come in the past two years, in terms of performances and crowd reaction. Sabre got a near fall with the PK, but transitioned right into an armbar attempt. I love when his constant grappling has meaning behind it. YOSHI fought out and got two on a lariat, but Sabre was relentless. He went into the Octopus Hold, turning it into a vicious double arm submission for the win at 11:48. I liked how simple this was. Sabre targeted a body part, YOSHI fought hard and just didn’t have enough. [***¼]

A Block: IWGP Intercontinental Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi [2] vs. Yuji Nagata [0]
If it was up to me, I’d have this main event. Tanahashi is Tanahashi and Nagata’s on his final G1 run. He should close out at least one show. The crowd was pro-Nagata. They worked an even outing early, with Tanahashi kind of relishing in the boos. When he took control, he taunted the crowd. I love when Tana shows heel tendencies. Tanahashi targeted the leg, but Nagata responded with some badass kicks and work on the bad arm. Things got heated with some slaps and the match picked up from there. Nagata pulled out a super exploder and brainbuster, but Tanahashi kicked out of both. Tanahashi countered a Backdrop Driver and they just slapped the shit out of each other. IT led to a bloody eye for Nagata. He popped the crowd by getting up before High Fly Flow, but Tanahashi fought him off to the mat. A cross body and High Fly Flow kept the legend down after 14:47. A damn good match, but slightly below Nagata’s first two G1 outings. Good intensity and back and forth, before Nagata fell just short. [***½]

Personally, I think Nagata should’ve won here. It would avoid the Liger BOTSJ route, where the guy in his final tournament just loses each time out, and it would set up a final big title match for Nagata. Nagata/Tanahashi headlining a Destruction event for the IC Title would be great.

A Block: Bad Luck Fale [2] vs. Tetsuya Naito [4]
Naito better wreck this jerk for murdering Daryl. These two opened the G1 25 in a shit match (*¾). Naito attacked Fale during his entrance, then taunted. Fale took over quickly and got a countout tease. Back inside, he worked one of his less interesting heat segments, with Naito playing the come from behind babyface. I did like Naito bringing out moves like the Koji Clutch, trying different things to wear down Fale. Naito’s rally was cut short when he was hit with the Grenade. Though he survived that, he couldn’t after eating the Bad Luck Fall, giving Fale a big victory at 11:55. Not good. Underdog Naito is not a role he’s great in, especially after not playing it for so long. Fale was at his most lethargic here, bringing none of the effort we’ve seen against guys like Tanahashi, Nakamura or even Shibata this year. Naito’s worst match since the 2015 one with Fale. [*¾]

A Block: Kota Ibushi [2] vs. Tomohiro Ishii [2]
Not booking this match in Osaka, Ryogoku or Korakuen is a travesty. Their 2014 match was incredible (****¾) and this was only behind Ibushi/Naito for the match I was most excited for this year. My favorite thing about Ibushi is that he’s fast and known for aerial stuff, but he can strike with the best of them, so Ishii’s style is in his wheelhouse. After a short opening exchange, they went right into murdering each other. Ishii popped up from a brainbuster, but Ibushi caught him with a gorgeous dropkick. It might be the best in the business. Styles, Okada and SANADA are all up there. Ishii gave zero fucks about Ibushi’s kicks, brushing them off like nothing. Ibushi responded with disrespectful kicks to the head, so Ishii fired up and they just went into a brutal strike exchange. Slaps, headbutts and kicks galore. They traded suplexes, with Ishii hitting the stalling superplex and Ibushi nailing a snap German. Ishii wanted a German of his own, but Ibushi landed on his feet. Both guys kicked out at one after big moves, before a dragon suplex got Ibushi two. Some barbaric slaps led to a lariat. Ibushi hit the Golden Star Bomb to win in an awesome 17:14. That was what I wanted from them. Just beat each other up for 15 or so minutes. It reminded me of Shibata/Ibushi from the G1 two years ago. This was below their 2014 match, as a hotter crowd and better finish would’ve put it over the top, but it still stands as the second best G1 match this year. [****½]

A Block: Hirooki Goto [4] vs. Togi Makabe [0]
This shouldn’t be a main event match, but it’s Makabe’s hometown apparently. Their G1 matches have gotten progressively worse to me (***½ in 2013, ***¼ in 2014 and **¾ last year). I won’t lie, I found it very hard to get into this. It reminded me of Goto’s main events with Okada and Tanahashi last year, which weren’t very good. At least there was more energy here. Goto tried, Makabe was motivated and the crowd was into it. Makabe called for Goto to bring his best, leading to a series of near falls. Makabe avoided the GTR and nailed a German, before they traded lariats where neither man went down. Goto remained mostly in control, with Makabe having to fight from behind to the crowd’s liking. When Makabe hit the King Kong Knee Drop, it surprisingly didn’t’ end things. He did finish things with a flurry that included a powerbomb, spider German and a second King Kong Knee Drop at 16:53. A good match that lacked a few things. Following Ibushi/Ishii didn’t help. Solid, but unspectacular. [**¾]

Overall: 6.5/10. Probably tied with night two for the worst G1 show so far. Goto/Makabe was decent, while Naito/Fale sucked. Nagata/Tanahashi and Sabre/YOSHI were very good outings, while Ibushi/Ishii was awesome. Not a must-see show by any means and it isn’t bad, but if pressed for time, only watch Ibushi/Ishii. 

Kota Ibushi4 (2-1)Kenny Omega4 (2-0)
Hirooki Goto4 (2-1)Kazuchika Okada4 (2-0)
Tetsuya Naito4 (2-1)Minoru Suzuki2 (1-1)
Zack Sabre Jr.4 (2-1)SANADA2 (1-1)
Bad Luck Fale4 (2-1)Toru Yano2 (1-1)
HIroshi Tanahashi4 (2-1)EVIL2 (1-1)
Tomohiro Ishiii2 (1-2)Juice Robinson2 (1-1)
YOSHI-HASHI2 (1-2)Tama Tonga2 (1-1)
Togi Makabe2 (1-2)Michael Elgin0 (0-2)
Yuji Nagata0 (0-3)Satoshi Kojima0 (0-2)

WWE Battleground Predictions

This is on the Kickoff? I had no clue. It hasn't helped that almost the entire build has been done via social media. Tye's also beaten Aiden rather handily each time they've met. I know it would like Aiden should finally get one over on Tye, but the WWE tends to have babyfaces win these Kickoff matches. I'm going with Tye, though neither guy seems to be gaining any sort of momentum.

Winner: Tye Dillinger

I remember thinking Sami would be the top candidate for Mike's first program. Sami's lovable, a great performer, always gets the crowd invested and loses quite often. I expect more of that here. It won't be a total one-sided squash like their Smackdown match, but I get the sense Sami's in control for the most part. Maria will get involved in some way, leading to a Kanellis win. Sooner or later, though, Sami has to start winning. Right? Right?

Winner: Mike Kanellis

Boy, the WWE has brought up Shinsuke Nakamura and made him pretty cold almost instantly. The shitty Ziggler feud was a bad start and though the Corbin one has been an improvement, I don't believe the match will fully allow Nakamura to showcase what makes him so good. I'm hoping the plan is for Nakamura to work Styles at SummerSlam, so we can get a "big match" Nakamura performance for the first time since TakeOver: Dallas. He'll need to win here to set that up most likely. Plus, Corbin has the briefcase and those guys always have horrible win/loss records.

Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura

Holy crap, this is awful. There's so much more both guys could be doing than "RAH RAH, AMERICA BABY, WOO". Rusev should be in Jinder's spot as he has the skill and charisma to be a top guy. Not just some evil foreigner. Outside of the Fastlane match in 2015, this feud was atrocious then and nearly killed Rusev. There's no way the Bulgaria flag gets waved. Cena picks up a win here to set himself up for something important at SummerSlam. Maybe a WWE Title match?

Winner: John Cena

Smackdown sure loves their multi-woman match tropes, huh? I give them props for booking more women to seem on a level playing field than Raw, where it's just Sasha/Bayley/Nia/blonde heel over and over. However, I have no interest in watching Tamina wrestle. Lana hasn't impressed much either and Natalya has next to no character. With a shot at the second biggest show of the year on the line, it comes down to either Becky or Charlotte. I think Becky/Naomi is the way to go, as the only two pure babyface women on Smackdown would make for an original and fun match. However, LADY BIG DOG GOTTA EAT. Charlotte wins because, woo.


They are the two best tag teams on Smackdown, so the feud makes sense. Outside of the rap battle though, I haven't been into it. The New Day was at the top of their game in 2016, but after losing the Raw Tag Titles, their act wore thin. The Usos have been rejuvenated in their new characters and I think they should retain here and get a lengthy reign. What I see happening though, is another New Day reign.

Winners: The New Day

This is pretty much the only match that sticks out to me on this card. Their match at Backlash was nearly great, but it felt like they held something back for a rematch, especially with that finish. With AJ Styles already as champion, I see him retaining here in their best match together. What Kevin Owens does after this is puzzling, but AJ should go on to face someone big (Nakamura or Cena most likely) at SummerSlam in a show stealer. Look for AJ to keep the gold in the best match of the night.

Winner: AJ Styles

Someone needs to put me out of my misery and end this damn feud. The Money in the Bank match was solid, but had the same exact finish as the Backlash one and I'm just over it. Jinder does nothing for me as champion, cutting generic promos and having generic matches, while Randy Orton is at his most unmotivated. Don't expect this to be anything of interest. Though, wouldn't it be hilariously awful if WWE gave Jinder the title, just to move it back to Orton here to set up Cena vs. Orton at SummerSlam? 

Winner: Jinder Mahal

2017 Prediction Record: 39-24
2016 Prediction Record: 72-41
2015 Prediction Record: 60-35